WASHINGTON, D.C. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, held a press conference today to announce a new program designed to make kids and their parents more comfortable with the TSA's new enhanced pat-down procedures.
"Domestic extremists have been trying to portray TSA agents as ogres," said Napolitano. "Our 'Cool Strangers With Candy' campaign will help our children see TSA workers for what they are: friendly, funny, cool strangers who will give kids great candy in exchange for touching their breasts, buttocks, and genitals."
The TSA's approach to enhanced pat-downs of kids has come under fire recently after TSA Regional Security Director James Marchand described the TSA's method of encouraging children to comply with being touched in their private regions by government officials. "You try to make it as best you can for that child to come through. If you can come up with some kind of a game to play with a child, it makes it a lot easier," said Marchand, who said that the "being touched is a game" program is now part of TSA training.
Stung by criticism that this "game" approach makes children more vulnerable to abuse, Napolitano and other TSA officials vowed to use all of the good judgment and scientific expertise of the the Department of Homeland Security to come up with a new program.
The TSA is planning aggressive advertising to promote the "Cool Strangers With Candy" Program, including internet, television, radio, and magazine campaigns, as well as community relations vans.
Napolitano also announced that the TSA was accelerating hiring of employees interested in working in the new child-related programs. "We've accepted many applications from people with lots of experience working with children," Napolitano confided. "They've found themselves on the job market because of the economy, or for various reasons that we can't ask about because of federal privacy laws or TSA Policy." The TSA is advertising for new suitable employees at anime conventions, camera stores, and parks.
But the TSA is not relying on the "Cool Strangers With Candy" program alone. Napolitano previewed a number of other programs calculated to make children more comfortable with TSA measures, including "We Can Make You a Star!", a program to encourage children to comply with the TSA's Rapiscan machines. "We're going to show children that it's perfectly natural, healthy and beautiful for awkward, overweight middle-aged men to use high-tech equipment to take naked pictures of them," said Napolitano. The TSA is reportedly negotiating with Miley Cyrus to be the program's spokesperson.
Napolitano is also working with TSA security experts to find ways to prevent parents and children from slowing down the security process with complaints, questions, or hysterical screaming. "If you have kids, you know that most of their complaints are just about getting attention from their parents," said Napolitano. "That's why we're working on a policy requiring kids to be patted down outside the presence of their parents. Then we can hit them with our new kid-friendly slogans 'This is Our Little Secret' and 'Do This Or Scary Men Will Kill Your Parents.'"
Asked whether parents across America might view these programs as intrusions into their relationship with their children, Napolitano smiled broadly. "No, no. Not in America. If there's one thing you can count on about Americans — whether they're liberals or conservatives — it's that they understand that the government knows what's best for their kids. And now TSA agents have a shot at using their few special minutes with kids to teach them what it means to be a good American: unquestioning compliance."
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